University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - Architecture

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Architecture

The buildings of the campus were designed by internationally renowned Modernist architect Paul Rudolph beginning in the early 1960s, to distinguish the campus from the outside world and provide what might be considered a Social Utopian environment. The building architecture is similar to that of the Boston Government Service Center. Rudolph made both the exterior and interior of each building of rough concrete (béton brut), an essential element of the style known as Brutalism, and he endowed buildings with large windows, with the intended effect of giving those inside the feeling of being connected to the outdoors. The stairs were made relatively short in height, ostensibly in order to slow people down and thus allow them to appreciate the campus more fully. Atriums were also placed in the Group 1 and Group 2 buildings to give people a place to socialize between sections of the halls. (The main academic buildings were known as Groups until 2007 because the first design concept for the campus had them as groups of individual buildings; the name was retained though the design concept was not. What was Group 1 is now the Liberal Arts building, and what was Group 2 is the Science/Engineering building. The older terms are still widely used.) These areas are also filled with hanging and potted indoor plants. The main door of each building faces towards the Robert Karam Campanile, keeping students within the Academic Life area, where buildings for classes are located. Large mounds of earth (berms) also stand between the parking lots, making the lots partially invisible from within the original Academic Life area (though not from within some recent additions to it, such as the Charlton College of Business building). More recent buildings, most notably the Woodland Commons residence halls to the south of the main campus, have been built to complement, but not to attempt to copy, Rudolph's Late Modernist aesthetic.

At the top of the campanile, many different antennas provide different services for the campus. It should be noted that if one looks between the two panels in the campanile, they can see that the campanile can only be climbed when accessed underground. This may seem to lead to an underground tunnel system, but there is an entrance to the campanile a short distance to the south of it.

Outdoors, the university is fortunate to have large areas of undeveloped green space, including extensive wooded areas, grasslands, wetlands and ponds uncommon to many university campuses. Numerous footpaths make exploring these natural areas of the campus an enjoyable activity for students, faculty and visitors alike.

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